The Final of the 2008 World Snooker Championship takes place today and tomorrow, with Ronnie O'Sullivan going for his third World Championship, four years after his last victory. Allister Carter conversely has been the surprise package of the tournament, and is appearing in his first ranking event final in his twelfth season as a professional.
O'Sullivan has eased through the competition with no real test. His performances against Williams and Hendry, both former World Champions, were impeccable, playing to a standard that Hendry considered to be better than even he was at his peak (Hendry of course is a 7-time World Champion). O'Sullivan is the odds-on favourite to win his third title, and win it easily, mainly due to his excellent performances in the competition so far. O'Sullivan is considered the People's Champion, and it will be interesting to see if he can win back the title. Provisionally ranked 2 coming into this tournament, with Shaun Murphy losing in the Second Round - to his final opponent - O'Sullivan is guaranteed of being ranked Number 1 when the rankings for the end of the season are released on Tuesday. Last week he made his third World Championship 147 break, his ninth in all.
Road to the Final
|Template:Flagicon Liu Chuang||10-5|
|Template:Flagicon Mark Williams||13-7|
|Template:Flagicon Liang Wenbo||13-7|
|Template:Flagicon Stephen Hendry||17-6|
Carter got off to a quiet start, struggling to beat Barry Hawkins in a poor match. Hawkins trailed 9-7, but faught back to level at 9-9. The match was out of time for the session, and had to resume later. This allowed Carter to compose himself, and he went through. From there, he performed impeccably against 2005 World Champion Shaun Murphy, a strong favourite for the title, and his 13-4 win was a huge shock. He was expected to struggle against Peter Ebdon in the Semis, going through 13-9, making a 147 break along the way, the first time there have been two 147 breaks in the same World Championship. He was lucky to prevail in a topsy turvy Semi Final. Against other players he may have faltered, but Joe Perry was unable to produce the form to beat Carter. The bottom half of the draw was loaded with three of the big four, Murphy, Selby and Maguire, as well as former champions Dott, Davis and Ebdon. Carter has done well just to get to this stage.
Road to the Final
|Template:Flagicon Barry Hawkins||10-9|
|Template:Flagicon Shaun Murphy||13-4|
|Template:Flagicon Peter Ebdon||13-9|
|Template:Flagicon Joe Perry||17-15|
Tale of the Tape
|Ronnie O'Sullivan||Allister Carter|
|19||Ranking Event Victories||0|
|£5,161,560||Career Prize Money||£420,505|
- Frames 1-8, Sunday 3pm BST
- Frames 9-16, Sunday 8pm BST
- Frames 17-24, Monday 3pm BST (if needed)
- Frames 25-35, Monday 8pm BST (if needed)
Over 35 frames and four sessions, O'Sullivan should prevail. He has been the best player in the tournament, and even if he has one bad session, he should be good enough in the other three to take the match. This could be a one-sided final, and I predict an O'Sullivan win. He beat Graeme Dott 18-8 in 2004, and I think he'll come close to that again in 2008. I'll guess at 18-10 this time though.
I will try to liveblog as much of this Final as possible.